Project Spark Beta, South Park, and Walking Dead hit Xbox consoles this week

After a few consecutive weeks of new Xbox One releases, we finally reach a week with no new games released. Well, unless you count the Project Spark Beta, which has just become available on Xbox One. But dedicated next-gen gamers are probably still busy with the refreshing Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, which we’ll be reviewing soon. Next week will see the launch of Titanfall, the Xbox One’s heaviest hitter yet though, and the Xbox One Media Remote is still due out this Friday.

Xbox 360 gamers do have some new games to play, including the long-awaited South Park: The Stick of Truth from Obsidian and Ubisoft. On the XBLA front, Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 2: A House Divided is now available for download as well. Details and Store links for both games, plus a preview of next week’s Xbox console releases after the break!

Project Spark Beta

Project Spark is Microsoft and Team Dakota’s unique game creation and sharing tool/game. Players can build their own games in a variety of styles: platformer, shoot-em-up, RPG, and much more and then share them online. Anybody can build a game quickly using the simple Crossroads mode, or go deeper in the full Create mode. Or just download games shared by others and have fun! Check out our preview from E3 2013 for more details.

Project Spark Beta

You can download the Xbox One beta by Binging it from the dashboard or queuing it using the Xbox.com link below. But to actually play the beta, you must sign up for it (or have already signed up) at JoinProjectSpark.com. People who have already been accepted into the Windows 8 beta and redeemed their keys within the Windows 8 game can just hop into the Xbox One version using the same Gamertag with no extra steps. If you haven't redeemed your Windows 8 key, I hear it won't work in the Xbox One game. Redeem it first and then enjoy!

  • Project Spark Beta – Xbox One – 1.44 GB – Free – Xbox.com Link

South Park: The Stick of Truth

There have been a few good South Park games before, especially South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play! for XBLA. But there’s never been a really great game based on the show, until now.

The Stick of Truth is a turn-based role-playing game based around a live-action RPG played by the children of South Park. As the New Kid, you get to create your own character from several classes: Fighter, Mage, Thief, and Jew.

South Park: The Stick of Truth

What follows is a 12-hour-ish adventure featuring actual writing and voices by the producers of South Park, plus lots of fun references for fans of the show. It’s incredibly funny, daring, and offensive, so much that the European and Australian versions have a few sequences of anal probes and the like censored out of them.

Early reviews indicate the game is also very buggy, which shouldn’t surprise anyone since it was developed by Obsidian. Hopefully patches will iron out the kinks, but even with the jankiness this one is worth a buy for South Park enthusiasts.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 2: A House Divided

Just as Obsidian has a reputation for releasing buggy games, so does Telltale have a reputation for releasing games with poor frame rates (despite their relatively simplistic graphics). But fans love them anyway, because Telltale’s adventure games tell excellent stories and usually offer fun choices for players that encourage multiple playthroughs.

The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 2: A House Divided

The first Walking Dead season is already a hit on XBLA and other platforms (which sadly include iOS but not Windows Phone). This episode of Season 2 won’t disappoint players, especially those who enjoy the Clementine. A young girl who has reached maturity far too early thanks to the zombie apocalypse, Clementine provides the series with heart – and lots of interesting moments. She’s the central character in Episode 2, which should be a lot of fun.

  • The Walking Dead: Season 2 - Episode 2 – Xbox 360 – 405 MB - $4.99 – Xbox.com Link

Next week on Xbox consoles

Titanfall (Xbox One)

The first game from ReSpawn Entertainment (the studio founded by the creators of the Call of Duty series) is almost upon us! This online-only first-person shooter allows players to take part in large-scale matches against both other players and CPU-controlled bots. The result is a multiplayer experience that also feels like a single-player campaign. And yes, there is a real campaign comprised of multiplayer matches and story sequences.

Titanfall

Besides me great graphics and the development team’s pedigree, Titanfall also promises some unique features like player-controlled mechs (giant robots) called Titans. Players also enjoy a great degree of freedom outside of the mechs thanks to jetpacks and a wall-jumping ability.

Lots of Titanfall info has leaked lately, but the game will still be a thrilling experience for FPS enthusiasts when it arrives on Xbox One and PC next week. Titanfall will also be bundled with the Xbox One console, with a Titanfall-themed controller available separately. The Xbox 360 version will follow on March 25 in the US and March 28 in Europe.

  • Titanfall – Xbox One – $59.99 – Amazon Link
  • Titanfall Xbox One Console Bundle – $499.99 – Amazon Link
  • Titanfall Controller – Xbox One – $64.99 – Amazon Link

Dark Souls II (Xbox 360)

Spiritual successors to Demon’s Souls on Playstation 3, the Dark Souls games from From Software and Namco Bandai are some of the most challenging action-RPGs on the market.

Players will die quite a lot as they face deadly enemies and constant perils. Death proves even more punishing in part II, as each death reduces your maximum HP until it reaches 50 percent of the original total. Only a rare item will restore a player’s humanity and maximum HP limit.

Dark Souls II

Other changes include a new leveling up system, the ability to fast travel between bonfires at will (which causes enemies to respawn), and an improved lock-on ability during combat. To be honest, the Dark Souls series is way too hardcore for me. But I can see why people with more free time and/or masochistic tendencies are drawn to the series’ beautiful universe and deep gameplay.